The Conference Insider
Saturday, November 12, 2011

School Survivor

By: Dillon McCormick

Survivor is a popular television reality game show where two teams compete for money in several physical challenges in exotic locations. But how could this apply to the classroom? Simple. All you need is school spirit. Whether you are in a small rural school or a large school in the city, Survivor is a great way to improve school spirit, student morale, and academic achievement. While school may not be that exotic, you can still turn it into a competitive environment where everybody benefits and no one gets voted off!

The excitement begins at an assembly where each class creates a logo, name, and color. Then, the students compete in the Kickoff Relay. Groups of 5 or 6 from each team participate in a unique mix of academic and physical challenges that build teamwork and individual learning. "Imagine if all the sports teams in your town won the championship. That is the kind of energy this will create," explained Kirk Pavelich, the creator of School Survivor.

After the kickoff assembly, the school will hold weekly challenges for students. When a winning team comes back, the students will clap and celebrate their victory. This can affect students greatly. "A parent once called me, and she was very emotional. Her daughter had never participated in a school activity. After she had won a challenge, she was hailed as a classroom hero," Pavelich shared. These challenges can greatly build students' confidence in themselves.

In a large school, not everyone will be able to participate in every challenge. In the classroom, teachers can set limits on who can compete, such as having a passing grade or passing a certain test. Also, the weekly challenges will involve answering questions like those on the standardized test. "If a student can answer a question in a noisy environment like a challenge, they will surely be able to do so at the end of the school year," stated Pavelich.

A school can benefit greatly from School Survivor. After the first year, Palevich's middle school students' test scores increased greatly. Team building and morale building can also help your schools in many ways. In the end, not only do the winners benefit, everyone does.


1...Tweeting with Teachers
2...School Survivor
3...A New Take on Teaching History
4...The Next Generation: Modern Media in the Classroom
5...Addressing Cyberbullying in Middle Schools
6...Gotta Dance


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